Bellini: Norma

Bellini Norma, Bayerischen Staatsoper, Gruberova as Norma ★★★★
This is my second performance of Norma on DVD, the first staring Monseratt Caballe and the French Theater of Orange. Because of the absolutely miserable recording quality of the Caballe version, I wanted a better version. Certainly, the Gruberova version is superbly and flawlessly recorded. Gruberova also is a close contestant with Caballe for the vocal and acting qualities of a magnificent Norma. The staging is a touch odd, with the Romans staged in modern jungle guerilla outfits and machine guns at their side. Otherwise, it was well done. My main criticism is the opera itself. Though Bellini is a master of the bel canto style, much of the opera is a bit weary. Once you have heard the casta diva, it is a touch wearisome making it to the end of the opera. This is not the fault of the performer, even though the virtuoso performances continue to the end of the opera.